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Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President INC

Amaseikumor Festival: INC calls for cultural, spiritual reawakening of Ijaws

By Deborah Coker

Abuja, April 20, 2024

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has called for a cultural and spiritual reawakening of its people following the conclusion of the Amaseikumor Festival in Gbaramatu, Delta.

Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President, INC, made the call on Saturday in a communique assessing and dissecting the activities showcased at the five-day festival.

Okaba called on the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism to support and popularise the Amaseikumor festival.

He stated that ljaw culture remained a strong identity of the people and as such would be promoted for its uniqueness and civilisation.

According to him, the INC uses this period of Amaseikumor to call for cultural and spiritual reawakening of the Ijaw people to the common cause and showing Ijaw wealth to the world.

“Tourism, besides natural resources is a major foreign exchange earner around the world.

“Not only in petroleum, which is a fleeting resource but also in the arts, tradition, culture and hospitality of Ijaw people.

“Countries like Brazil, Egypt, Israel and others survive very well on income from tourism.

“Gbaramatu is rich in culture, just as it is rich in oil. The investment possibilities and potentials in culture are open to investors both in the public and private sectors.”

Okaba added that cultural festivals also bring people together and foster unity.

“By celebrating our cultural heritage, it is easy to break stereotypes, promote social cohesion, encourage dialogue and boost local economies.

“The 2024 Amaseikumor festival featured songs, dance and drama all through the five days of its commemoration and this festival has contributed to building a more inclusive and harmonious society.

“The festival was an acknowledgement of man as an embodiment of body, soul and spirit which was re-enacted in dance and song to commemorate the spiritual roots of the Gbaramatu people.

“It was truly an observance filled with spiritual and physical joy. The great hospitality of the Gbaramatu community was on display as invited guests came from far and near and were all thoroughly enthralled.

“The ambience all through the event was that of peace and tranquility. No single incident of violence, not even simple affrays which are common in such large social gatherings.

“This confirms ljaws as very peaceful people, contrary to some revisionist public commentators and quasi-intellectuals who like to label them as violent people. ljaws are free spirited and peace loving people”, he said.

The INC president further felicitated warmly and congratulated the kingdom on the successful celebration of the annual festival.

“It was five days of world class cultural displays and theatre showcasing Ijaw civilisation and tradition at its very finest,” he added.

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